Gov. Chet Culver signed legislation on Monday setting aside $6.5 million for a rail line between Iowa City and Chicago. State lawmakers committed up to $20 million in funding last month. The estimated cost of the project is $102 million and officials plan to ask for the remainder in federal funds.
Plans for the railway have been ongoing; an attempt to begin construction last year failed because of funding problems.
The 79 mph high-speed passenger rail service would make two trips daily. A one-way trip between Iowa City and Chicago would take about five hours and cost roughly $42. Amtrak expects 120,000 people to take the route annually.
The next step is to submit an application for the federal dollars by July. Local officials will find out whether they will receive the money in October.